Why You Should Stay Away From The Keto Diet If You're Pregnant

A lot of people resort to the keto diet for weight loss and to improve their cholesterol levels. Several fitness experts also recommend the low-carb, high-fat diet for their clients, and some YouTubers who are into health made videos about their journey and progress. Many individuals, young and old, who have undergone keto have reaped its benefits. It is said to improve the body in fighting different kinds of health conditions, such as certain cancers, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, Parkinson's disease, and diabetes (via Healthline). Not only that, but the diet, which cuts out sugar, is said to help reduce acne in those who are acne-prone (via Allure).

The diet has become so popular that some pharmaceutical corporations came up with keto pills, which promote the body into ketosis — the metabolic state when the body is beginning to burn fat. When undergoing keto, people may experience keto flu and the pills (which are not FDA-approved) are said to eliminate the said side effects (via Good Housekeeping).

A particular type of diet may or may not work on an individual. Everyone has different bodies and needs. The health condition of a person is always the main priority, followed by health goals, time, and lifestyle when choosing a diet and workout routine. That said, the keto diet may not work for certain people. "Depending on your approach, keto diets can contribute to significant lean body mass loss along with fat loss," Melinda Manore, a professor of nutrition at Oregon State University, told Live Science. Further, what if your health condition is that you are pregnant?

Is the keto diet safe for pregnant women?

The keto diet restricts certain types of food and only allows eggs, meat, fish, and some types of dairy. The diet can be ideal for people who like these types of food and don't mind eliminating pasta, grains, starchy peas, sugary delights, and most fruits (via Everyday Health). Yes, pasta and pizza are a no-no for keto.

When pregnant, a well-balanced diet is optimal for the development of the baby. Restricting certain types of food can have adverse effects on your growing child. "Nourishing your baby is the most important thing when you are pregnant," Charles Seltzer, a Philadelphia-based nutritionist, told Insider. "Ketogenic diets steer you away from really nutrient-dense foods like fruit, which are packed with vitamins and minerals. These are crucial for the development of a baby."

Keto reduces carb intake, and for pregnant ladies, this is not ideal. A decrease in carbs may result in low energy and grogginess. Seltzer also notes that "the brain's and muscles' preferred form of fuel is carbohydrates." The most common reason for people choosing the keto diet is to lose weight. Burning fat may not be ideal when pregnant. If a pregnant woman needs to lose weight, Seltzer advises to seek an expert in the field and not resort to keto or self-made diets as pregnancy is risky and needs utmost care. Pregnancy can be overwhelming. If in doubt, it is best to ask your gynecologist for advice.

The keto diet can worsen nausea and fatigue in pregnancy

The keto diet comes with the so-called keto flu, which happens in the first four days of practicing the diet. When the body is burning fat caused by keto, a person may experience nausea, fatigue, dehydration, vomiting, bloating, headaches, and even muscle cramps (via Harvard Health Publishing). When pregnant, a woman may have morning sickness and nausea for the first few months of pregnancy, accompanied by low energy and a stuffy nose (via Healthline). Doing the keto diet when pregnant may double the feeling of nausea and tiredness.

High cholesterol can also be a danger to your pregnancy. Extreme tiredness is also not good as being active is advisable for pregnant women to reduce complications in pregnancy. A 2013 study in the journal BMC Pregnancy Childbirth showed that a pregnant mouse in a keto diet gave birth to a mouse that had a larger heart but with a smaller brain. Therefore, the diet can affect gestation in pregnancy, as well as embryonic organ growth.

In conclusion, the keto diet is not a good option for pregnant women. It is best to consult your doctor on what they think about a certain type of diet, and they can advise other healthy options that are suitable for you and your growing baby inside your womb.